• Chapter 2

    Fire is all around me. The flames reach up and lick my skin. Pain rushes through me, but I cannot move nor scream. I am bound to the large oak tree by my hands and feet by invisible forces to far beyond my grasp to understand. The forest is setting the sky ablaze with its flames. Fiery stars fall from the heavens and crash into mother earth, shaking her to the core. I yearn to assist, but I am bound here against my will.

    "Cathryn!" I here a man's voice yelling, coming towards me. I move my head to the side, straining against my bindings. "Cathryn!" My eyes search out the man who this voice belongs to. The smoke is obscuring my view though, and my eyes start to water from all the soot accumulating in them. Then I see him. He is a black silhouette against the ashen gray sky, his body lean and moving swiftly through the trees. "Cathryn," he yells out once more, "Where are you?" I open my mouth to speak, but all the comes out is a terrible cough, but this seems to lure him closer. Even though my eyes are filled with soot and my mouth is filled with smoke, as the man moves closer I already know who it is.

    "Ian!" I scream out, breaking my barriers but being congratulated with a fit of coughing. He rushes forward and is nearly at me when a burning limb from above snaps and starts to fall. I open my mouth to yell a warning to him, but nothing comes out. I'm left staring at him with eyes watering and lips trembling. He looks at me with fear in his eyes and he takes a step forward, but makes it no further. The limb falls harder and faster and I watch in horror as my love is crushed and burned alive by the tree that is holding me captive. "No!!!!"


    I wake to the sound of a young child screaming and with a cold sweat on my skin. It takes a moment to realize that I'm the one creating this horrible, gut wrenching sound. I quickly clamp my mouth shut, I didn't even know I could make such a sad, sorrowful sound. The nightmare slowly comes back to me and I knot my hands into the sheets covering me. Tears spill from my eyes and land softly on the pillow beneath my head as the knife makes another turn in my chest.

    "Miss? Miss, are you alright?" My eyes snap open and I move farther away from the voice, fear churning in my veins. Standing above me is a woman, but not like any other woman I have seen before. She is a lot bigger than the women back home and her stature larger than most, and her skin is the color of almonds without a flaw in sight. Her chestnut hair is curly and rests at the base of her skull and protruding from it are two pointed ears. I realize that she is quit beautiful, and I can't help but openly stare. She notices and shifts to her other foot, unnerved by my staring, but I can't stop; my eyes are just drawn to her because she is so much different then me. I am much smaller than she, standing at only 5'7" where she looks about six feet tall. My skin is a lighter shade of chestnut, but you could pick out every single blemish without a problem; a scar under my chin, a small mole on my pinky finger. Where here hair is chestnut, short and curly, mine is auburn, long, and straight, braided down my back and hanging just above my butt. We are complete opposites, but the most unnerving difference is our eyes. Hers are a bright teal that seem to have a light of their own, dancing to and fro, where mine are a dull shade of green.

    After a couple more minutes of scrutiny she clears her throat and repeats; "Miss, are you alright?" I shake my head, releasing my thoughts from my comparisons and my face reddens with embarrassment.

    "Uh, I'm sorry. I-I didn't mean to stare. Yes, I'm fine." I cough softly and look away, ashamed of my behavior. I was never really good at making first impressions, but this by far is my worst one yet. My mind goes back to my first impression on Ian. It was a warm day in the village, and my mother sent me out to gather some herbs for a new remedy she was going to try. With basket in hand, I set out for the village market where we bought most of our herbs. After gathering all the needed ingredients I was headed home, but not after spotting Ian. His dirty blond hair stood out in the crowd as the people of my village naturally have darker hair, in exception for me and this new man. I was immediately drawn to him and soon found myself following him around the market. I observed that we both had a love for books and the arts. I was becoming so absorbed in what he was doing that I wandered too near and he spotted me. He smiled and started to walk towards me, and I fled. I wasn't the most social, or graceful person, and as I ran away I slipped and fell into a mud puddle. To my horror he had seen the whole thing and was actually laughing. I ran from him as quickly as I could, leaving my basket behind. He eventually found out who I was and returned the basket, and that's when everything started with him.

    "Miss? Are you sure your okay?" I shook my head once more and looked at the woman. I realize that I had completely forgotten my place and had roamed into the past. My face reddens once more and I apologize again. "Oh it's fine miss, I was just worried that you were too far gone to help." The woman shook her head and gave me a sad look before fretting about my sheets. I am surprised at how graceful she is, you would think she would be clumsy with her long arms and legs, but she moves with an ease and care that warms my heart. "My name is Kaviarana Roe Soj Blouc," My face must have went slack, because hers lights up and she laughs, "But you can call me Kavia, everyone does." Her smile is radiant and her laugh is like a wind chime. I can't help but smile and laugh also.

    "My name's Cathryn, but you can call me Cat." I say, pulling myself up into a sitting position on the bed. This small movement has head spinning and I have to clench my teeth shut to keep from vomiting. Kavi rushes forward to steady me and carefully props me against the bed frame. I feel the blood rushing to my head and I close my eyes, thankful for the darkness. After a while of sitting and trying to keep my breathing under control, I open my eyes and look down at the source of my throbbing pain: my shoulder. I hold back a gasp and stare down at my mutilated shoulder. My simple olive shirt is torn to shreds, the remaining fabric stained with my blood. My flesh didn't do any better than my shirt did. Long gashes and dozens of puncture marks spot my shoulder and go down my entire arm. A sob escapes my lips and I find myself being pulled into the warm embrace of Kavia.

    "I am so sorry Cat." she says, brushing my hair away from my sweaty face. "He tried to stop Fiore, but it was too late." Her teal eyes are huge and tears brim them precariously, ready to tumble down her face. I can feel my own tears falling from my chin, but I cannot help them. The pain had been dormant since I thought everything was a dream, but after seeing and remembering everything that happened, the pain is fresh and ready to kill.

    A knock at the door startles us both and Kavia jumps from the bed, lowering her head guiltily and hustling to the door. A small child stands behind it and Kavia leans down to listen to her words. Her face is blank as she shuts the door and turns back to me. "He would like to speak to you now." Her voice is even and her eyes betray no emotion.

    "Who?" I ask, pulling the blanket up to my chin and bite my lip. She looks startled for a second, but then regains her composure.

    "Prince Arian my dear." Her voice is filled with pity and as she finishes he sentence another is at the door knocking quietly. Kavia nods her head and opens the door for the guest. My mouth drops open and my eyes gleam with fresh tears and hatred. Standing in the doorway is the man who was atop the beast that attacked me.